Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes – ‘Blossom’

Former Gallows frontman delivers an aural and emotional pummelling on new solo album

On viciously vitriolic form, Frank Carter has lost none of the bite that made his days with Brit-punk revivalists Gallows so vital. Following the demise of his slightly happier hardcore group Pure Love after he moved back to London from New York, he’s returned with a new gang of instrument attackers, The Rattlesnakes, three men who provide the perfect sonic foil for his idiosyncratic approach.

Midway through debut album ‘Blossom’’s brutal opening track ‘Juggernaut’ they let the guttural guitars drone out and Carter’s short, rasping breathing is turned way up in the mix. It’s one of many vivid snapshots of the intensity of Carter’s unhinged live performance, a kind of trance-like mania. When NME saw his debut performance with The Rattlesnakes in an East London tattoo studio earlier this summer he smashed his own head open with the mic.

If you thought Kentish grime-punk duo Slaves were the pinnacle of angry music laced with contemporary apathy, then Carter’s untrammelled rage will have you quaking. ‘Paradise’ is a bitter riposte to suicide bombers, its Cramps-y guitars providing a bed of nails for Carter’s bitter barbs against religious extremism (“If there is a paradise in the sky/I hope you never get to see it when you die”), punctuated by the sound of the singer spitting disgustedly into the mic. The bile flows thick and fast with ‘I Hate You’, which is perhaps the most hostile blues ballad ever recorded, (“You’re a useless fucking cunt/You are nothing to me”), a stripped-back Grinderman-worthy charge through unreconstructed cruelty and revulsion.

Yet despite the heaviness of its sound and content, this is an intensely melodic album. ‘Fangs’ flashes with psychobilly swagger, but, though describing a private striptease from his wife, Carter sounds just as livid when he’s turned-on as he does when he’s distraught. Such rawness is understandable when the subject of death looms as largely as it does throughout these 10 tracks, from the spiralling riffs of ‘Rotten Blossom’ to the tender hooliganism of ‘Beautiful Death’. An essential emotional pummelling as well as an aural one.

Details

Director: Thomas Mitchener
Record label: International Death Cult
Release date: 14 Aug, 2015